CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The number of new coronavirus deaths in the state was again the initial focus of Gov. Justice’s press briefing.
The Sept. 2 briefing saw the governor lament the deaths of 16 residents, making the death toll 230 overall.
“I say this all the time, but, uh, 230 great West Virginians is a crying shame,” Justice said. “They’re not statistics. They’re people. They’re loved ones. They’re friends.”
The state’s rate of transmission has pulled a 180, going from the third best in the country to now being the third worst in the nation, according to Justice.
“Remember when we were talking about our Rt number, and we said that, I think it got as low as .85, and we were tied for third best in the country?” Justice asked. “How many days ago was that, a week, you know, maybe 10 days ago? Surely, not very many days ago. Today, our Rt number is at 1.22, and we are the third worst in the country today.
“We are now tied for the third-highest Rt number, and we want that number to be the lowest,” Justice continued.
After some issues related to college students crowding bars in Morgantown, Justice ordered bars in Monongalia County to close back down at 4 p.m. Wednesday. He expressed his displeasure with how bars and patrons handled the reopening, as social distancing and the wearing of masks were not followed.
“We met with the people representing the bars in Mon County. We talked to them. We told them what they had to do. We told them the social distancing, and wearing masks and, and, and not getting overcrowded, all of that. You know, in addition, we even talked to them about blocking off a street and then doing outside stuff. They didn’t want to do that and everything else,” said Justice.
“And, lo and behold, what do we do? Boom. Right off the get-go, right just off the get-go. Boom. What do we do? We’ve got people standing on top of people. We’ve got no masks. We’ve got, absolutely, servers without masks on and everything else. The bars are closed. 4 o’clock today, the bars are closed in Mon County indefinitely.
“We’ve already got Mon County in the orange. We cannot have this go on, that’s all there is to it.”
Education continues to be a focal point of the governor’s briefing, and he has reiterated the need to open schools and have children back in the classroom.
“We have to make our schools, and our kids and our people, whether it be our teachers or our service personnel, as safe as they can possibly be, and we get back to school,” said Justice.
“September the 8th, we’re trying to go back to school, and we’re trying to educate our kids.”
The governor used an analogy to illustrate the importance of education and the relative unimportance of activities like sports in comparison.
“All the other stuff is just parsley around the plate. That’s all there is to it,” Justice continued. “When you go in a fancy restaurant, or whatever like that, you know, you’ve got your food, but there’s a little of this, little piece of green stuff around your plate. Well, all this other stuff, whether it be, you know, a football game or a volleyball game, is just the parsley, it’s just the little stuff.
“The meat and potatoes are what absolutely preserve you and keep you going. That’s your education.”
Free coronavirus testing continues across West Virginia. In north central West Virginia, a testing site will be set up in Doddridge County on Sept. 17. It will run 10 a.m.–6 p.m. at Doddridge County Park.